October 12, 2013 at 7:18 AM
MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn-Short Hills’s Kiwanis Club is back – and looking for members eager to get involved and help children facing adversity. It has been two years since the community’s Kiwanis Club shut its doors as a result of dwindling membership. But a campaign to revive it, led by the Millburn High School Key Club with invaluable help from the Kiwanis Club of Livingston, has borne fruit. The new club received its charter at a packed Sept. 26 ceremony.
Kiwanis International's outgoing president, Thomas DeJulio, spoke of the organization's global reach in raising money for causes to help children. The club's current global effort is known as "Eliminate" and aims to eradicate maternal and neonatal tetanus. Officers of the fledgling Millburn-Short Hills Kiwanis Club were sworn in at the event, which was held at Gian Marco Trattoria.
At the helm is President Michael Birnberg, whose daughter Marlee, worked with high school advisers Neil Cooperman and Bridgette Nevola to lay the groundwork for the new club. Marlee is now a freshman at Cornell University.
“Our local chapter of Kiwanis is anxious to get involved with the community and partnering with the Key Club to further our goals of helping those children who are underprivileged or otherwise facing some form of adversity,” Mr. Birnberg said. Those interested in joining, helping or simply providing some necessary funding should contact him at 732-851-1795.
Mr. Cooperman and Ms. Nevola attended the ceremony, as did the Key Club's current president, Sylvia Levy; vice president Karen Fich; and Kiwanis Liaison Olivia Estes. All were involved in the effort to revive the local Kiwanis Club. Other past Key Clubbers who were instrumental in re-launching the club include Sonisha Sanju, Ashley Wu, Ashley Rose Lynn, and Chaerin Ahn. All are in college now.
“The Millburn High School Key Club is thrilled to have been instrumental in the resurrection of the new Kiwanis Club,” Mr. Cooperman said. “Teaming with the new club has already yielded the fruit of additional community-service opportunities for our highly dedicated student members. We are looking forward to a strong collaboration with our new Kiwanis partners for the benefit of the greater community.”
Said Ms. Nevola: “The Kiwanis Club will partner with the Key Club to provide assistance to these causes. Most recently, Key Club volunteers worked at the Fall Festival. We will also assist in the 75th anniversary celebration at the Millburn Public Library. We are incredibly fortunate to have this partnership created! It will benefit all of the Millburn-Short Hills community.”
In addition to Mr. Birnberg, other Millburn-Short Hills Kiwanis Club officers who were sworn in Sept. 26 are: Michael Dana, vice president; Susana Fernandez-Poyatos, Secretary; and Roxanne Kam, Treasurer. Members of the board of directors are: Kathleen Estes; Yuan-Fea Lai; Annette Romano; Eric Siegel; and Sheila Tagle. So far, members include Gregg Kam; Carmella Keyles; Barry Kirschner; Tithi Majunder; Lisa Chenofsky Singer; Rita Weimer; Richard Estes; and Gabriella Levy.